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A06542 Summary:

BILL NOA06542A
 
SAME ASSAME AS S00316-A
 
SPONSORPeoples-Stokes
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd §190.25, CP L
 
Allows a person to petition the court for grand jury proceeding materials on the basis of enduring historical importance.
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A06542 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A6542A
 
SPONSOR: Peoples-Stokes
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to providing for the release of certain grand jury proceeding materials on the basis of enduring historical importance   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to create an exception to the secrecy of grand jury proceedings by providing that any person may petition for the release of records of grand jury proceedings on the ground of enduring historical importance.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends paragraph (a) of subdivision 4 of Criminal Procedure Law section 190.25 by adding a new subparagraph (ii), which creates an exception to the secrecy of grand jury proceedings by allowing any person to petition for the release of grand jury records that are of enduring historical significance. Subparagraph (ii) creates a rebuttable presumption of enduring historical significance as that term is defined in subparagraph (ii). Upon a finding of enduring Historical signif- icance, a court shall release such grand jury records in a manner and form as determined by the court. Section 2 provides that the act takes effect immediately and shall apply to such records created before, on or after such date.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION: The amended version of this bill clarifies how grand jury records may be released by the court based on enduring historical importance, and that records of enduring historical importance includes records that are forty rather than fifty years old   JUSTIFICATION: "One might well wonder why it has taken forty-five years for a compre- hensive history of the Attica Prison uprising of 1971 to be written. "Thompson, Heather Ann, Blood in the Water, 2016. "The answer is simple: the most important details of this story have been deliberately kept from the public. Literally thousands of boxes of documents related to these events are sealed or next to impossible to access." (Introduction, xiii). By any measure, the Attica uprising was one of the most historic events in our nation's history. It seized the attention of the entire world nearly half a century ago, and its effects on our criminal legal system can still be felt today. For too long, however, the uprising and subse- quent actions by the state of New York have been shrouded in secrecy. The governor's office and agencies under his control hid the scope of brutality visited upon correction officers and the incarcerated during and after the "taking" of the prison by New York State Troopers. This deception and brutality deserves the disinfectant of sunlight and this bill will allow the people of this state to shed that light. By using the "enduring historical significance" standard to access grand jury records, this act would still adhere to the rationales of grand jury secrecy ( prevention of flight by a defendant; protection of the grand jurors from interference; prevention of subornation of perjury and tampering with perspective witnesses; protection of an innocent accused from unfounded accusations if, in fact, no indictment is returned; and assurance to prospective witnesses that their testimony will be kept secret so that they will be willing to testify freely). It would also preserve the court's discretion by providing that the release of such records be accomplished "in a manner and form as determined by the court."   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to such records created before, on or after such date.
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